Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finally a Sonoma County Food System Alliance

I went to the inaugural meeting Monday afternoon.

And as I began to type I thought about the fact that this blog is public, so while I will share some of my learnings, I won't share all of my impressions.

Joseph McIntyre is the fast moving facilitator and Dan Schurman the ED of the coordinating organization Ag Innovations Network.

The participants were heavy on the human health and environmental advocacy angles, not so much economic justice. Farm labor, small scale farmers and the Food Bank were represented, but no other dimensions of labor, like food service workers or food processors, and no restaurateurs. There was also no one from the food waste angle.

Last week when I was at the Imagine conference for ordained women of Province 8 of the Episcopal Church, I figured something out. I'm in the middle on this food system business, upholding the environment related issues to the church, and the economic justice issues to the eco-foodies who dominate the scene in my locale. I can live with this, and work with this.

We met at the Food Bank this time. What I hadn't thought about until I walked through the warehouse, was how dependent our food safety net for the poor is on nationwide sourcing. This is very scary. If there were a terrorist attack or environmental disaster that disrupted transportation; or if there were a huge spike in gasoline or diesel prices; or just a few decades down the road when peak oil is way back in our rear view mirrors, we are going to be in big trouble trying to meet the needs of the food insecure from local sourcing.

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